Back in December, I visited Nicolas Collins at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and got to see one of the latest creations that he is using in class. The beautiful traces wind their way into the classic LM386 audio amp for an expressive overdriven effect:
Nicolas Collins is well known for having written Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking:
… provides a long-needed, practical, and engaging introduction to the craft of making – as well as creatively cannibalizing – electronic circuits for artistic purposes. With a sense of adventure and no prior knowledge, the reader can subvert the intentions designed into devices such as radios and toys to discover a new sonic world. At a time when computers dominate music production, this book offers a rare glimpse into the core technology of early live electronic music, as well as more recent developments at the hands of emerging artists. In addition to advice on hacking found electronics, the reader learns how to make contact microphones, pickups for electromagnetic fields, oscillators, distortion boxes, and unusual signal processors cheaply and quickly.
Jeremy S Cook writes on the Tindie blog:
Take a look at Tindie’s thriving sound section and you’ll see there is no shortage of people making their own electronic music. These devices take many forms, and one interesting take on sound creation is the OKAY 2 Synth DIY Kit. At face value it features 2 octaves of keys, a built-in amplifier along with a 1/4″ line out, and knobs to select the octaves that you’d like to play — but it gets more interesting under the hood.
Oskitone OKAY 2 from oskitone on Vimeo.
What makes it unique by today’s standards is that it doesn’t use any sort of computer or microcontroller, but instead produces sound using an LM555 timer along with other discreet components for monophonic sound. Given its small size, you could use two at once, perhaps combining them via the line out to be further modified in your synth setup!
In case you’re wondering, the original—or nearly so as it’s version 1.1.1—OKAY is also available. It works largely the same as the OKAY 2, but features only a single octave of keys, and doesn’t have an audio output jack.
Sergey Kiselev designed this I2S Audio pHAT:
This is a Raspberry Pi Zero pHAT form-factor I2S audio interface board based on a Cirrus Logic (Wolfson) WM8731 audio codec. It provides line input, line output, headphones output, and includes an on-board microphone.
From Sven Gregori on Hackaday.io:
the USB MIDI keyboard dedicated to play all the four chord songs, from Adele via Green Day and Red Hot Chilli Peppers to U2 and Weezer. Thanks to MIDI, you can be any instrument – and all of them at once. Yay!
Built around an AVR ATmega328 and Objective Development’s V-USB library
, 4chord MIDI acts as a regular USB MIDI instrument. It supports playback in every key and five different playback modes:
- simple triad chord (root, third, fifth)
- triad chord + third + fifth + third as quarter notes
- triad chord + third + fifth + octave as quarter notes
- root note + third + fifth + third as quarter notes
- root note + third + fifth + octave as quarter notes
The playback tempo can be set between 60 and 240 bpm.
Here is the board in action:
The design files and source code are available on GitHub:
MP3 player design from Dooba.io:
Based on the ioNode, Aecho and Nomad modules, the Shiva allows browsing & playing MP3 files stored on any FAT-formatted MicroSD card with audio quality up to 128Kbps.
The actual Shiva board itself is quite simple, featuring an MCP23008 from Microchip for reading the 7 buttons, a DM3D-SF MicroSD card socket from Hirose and a 128×64 OLED display from Adafruit.
To keep everything neatly together I needed an enclosure. Being lucky enough to own a half-decent 3D printer I decided to keep things minimal but functional. Who needs glue and screws when you can go for a press-fit case?
The code for the Shiva MP3 player is available in the Dooba Firmware SDK under /src/shiva. Schematic and board are available in the Dooba Hardware collection.
[Ross Fish], [Darcy Neal], [Ben Davis], and [Paul Stoffregen] created “the Monolith”, an interactive synth sculpture designed to showcase capabilities of the Teensy 3.6 microcontroller. The Monolith consists of a clear acrylic box covered in LED-lit arcade buttons. The forty buttons in front serve as an 8-step sequencer with five different voices, while touch sensors on the left…
via The Monolith Brings the Boom to Maker Faire — Hackaday
General Instrument’s AY-3-8910 is a chip associated with video game music and is became popular with arcade games and pinball machines. The chip tunes produced by this IC are iconic and are reminiscent of a great era for electronics. [Deater] has done an amazing job at creating a harmony between the old and new with his Raspberry…
via Multifunction Raspberry Pi Chiptune Player — Hackaday